Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: June 25, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963978 | Print ISBN: 9781412909280 | Online ISBN: 9781412963978| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Scott Wituk & Greg Meissen
Self-help groups consist of individuals who share the same problem or concern. Group members provide emotional support to one another, learn ways to cope, discover strategies for improving their condition, and help others while helping themselves. Self-help groups, also referred to as support groups or mutual help groups , are cost-free, voluntary groups that have no limit as to how long a person can attend. Self-help groups rely on the experiential knowledge of members, as everyone has valuable contributions based on their unique experiences. Self-help groups encourage personal responsibility and self-care, with most self-help groups having one or more of the following three basic functions: (1) providing social support for members so that they can overcome life-disrupting problems through mutual support and assistance; (2) providing education about the problem or concern the group addresses, often through presentations from health and mental health professionals and materials obtained at group meetings; (3) ...